Spring is in the air here in San Francisco. The plum and some cherry blossoms have already burst forth, those with allergies are suffering a bit, and we’ve got sunshine into the dinner hour thanks to the magic of daylight savings time.
Spring means a lot of different things to different people, but for any wine lover in San Francisco, it certainly means wine tasting season. This is the time of year that winemakers get a little break — malolactic fermentation is well underway if not finished — so there’s time to pack the suitcase and go show off some wines to the public.
One of the best tastings that comes our way each Spring in San Francisco is the Rhone Rangers tasting. Like many of the other big tastings, Rhone Rangers offers the chance for wine lovers to taste through a vast field of Syrah, Grenache, Viognier, and many other varieties and blends that fall under the general banner of Rhone-style wines.
I adore these wines, and this is always a great event. I highly recommend it to anyone, especially those that might be stuck in a Cabernet rut (or a Merlot, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc rut for that matter). There’s a lot more out there in the world of California wine, and this tasting will provide one heck of an education to anyone looking to explore alternatives to the typical grape varieties.
And of course, for those who are crazy for Rhone-style wines, this tasting is as close to nirvana as you get.
After a couple of years holding the event outside of San Francisco, for their 19th incarnation, The Rhone Rangers have come home again, and will be holding their tasting at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, which is as fine a venue for a wine tasting as you get.
This year’s event features a winemaker reception, dinner and auction on Friday, June 10th at the same venue, catered by Girl & The Fig, an excellent restaurant in Sonoma. On Saturday, a seminar will be held in the morning, followed by the Grand Tasting event in the afternoon. Complete details on the events, including a list of the participating wineries can be found on the event web site.
Go get ‘yer Rhone on!
Tickets to the grand tasting are $55 in advance, and should be purchased online. If you want to spring for $75 VIP tickets, you can get into the tasting at 1:30 PM, and then taste at your leisure and snack on appetizers for an before it starts to get crowded. Another $50 gets you into the seminars, too. Check the site for all the ticket options.
And remember my tips for optimum enjoyment at public tastings: wear dark, comfortable clothes; get a good night’s sleep; come with food in your belly; drink lots of water; and SPIT if you want to learn anything! Finally, ladies (and gents) please skip the perfume and aftershave for the day. We want to smell the wines, not you.